I nearly choked on the water I’d been sipping. Christian started laughing hard. I glared at him. He just laughed harder. He didn’t stop even when tears started running down his face. He was clutching his stomach like he couldn’t keep it in. I kicked my foot sideways, catching him viciously in the shin. His knee bent into his chest, and he clutched his hurt shin, but didn’t stopped laughing.
I turned my glare on Luke. “You may not. Thank you for the lunch, Luke, but please stop this silly game. I’m not your dominant. And while I’m on the subject, what kind of a submissive pursues a dom? Doesn’t that seem a little off to you?” I tried to keep my voice quiet, but I knew the whole room was listening to this mortifying exchange. “I read your letter, and I can say with no hesitation at all that that is never going to happen. So just drop it.” My words fell on deaf ears. All he heard was the unconscious authority I had used.
“Yes, Mistress. Shall I remove myself from your presence? Where would Mistress have me go?”
I shook my head at him in exasperation. I pointed at the opposite wall, a good distance away. “Somewhere that way. And don’t cast me any more of those mournful looks, either.”
Christian, who had finally fallen silent, started laughing all over again. Dammit.
“And how will my Mistress punish me if I disobey?” Luke asked. He cast me his most mournful look yet.
Christian clutched his sides. “Oh, God, I can’t take it. This is too good. I’m taking this kid everywhere with me from now on.”
I pointed at him threateningly. “Don’t. You. Dare.”
He pointed back at me. At my hair, rather. “Oh, God, your hair is lavender again. I think it does it every time you get pissed off now. This really is like Christmas. Will you move in with me, Jillian? I want life to be like this everyday. You complete me. And I have room for Luke.”
That was it. I’d had it. I simply got up and moved to a different part of the room. I sat down in a cushy light-brown leather chair. I glared at the goth’s who had taken up residence in the chairs around it. They beat it. Good. I was officially unfit for company.
Lynn shocked me a few minutes later by walking into the room with the strange asian man we’d seen at the renaissance fair. Was that the man who’d put a love charm on her? Shit, that was bad. He was bad news, I just knew it. She was giggling and holding his hand, and just acting very un-Lynn like in general. I stared, mystified. He was some kind of foreign dragon-kin, and she had just brought him into our sanctuary. It wasn’t a safe house anymore. What the hell was she thinking?
The strange dragon sat down in a chair by the door, pulling her into his lap with an ardent look in his eyes.
I glanced at Christian to see how he would be taking the entrance of the strange intruder into his home.
He was completely oblivious, making a kissy face at Cherry while she and Juliet decked him out with goth makeup. I couldn’t keep the disgust off of my face. Way to stay focused on the problem at hand, Douche, I thought at him childishly. And he looked way more pretty than any man should in black eyeliner.
Luke had a cow-eyed stare fixed on me. I sent him a quick glare. That was a mistake. He liked that. I looked away.
I caught Lynn’s eye, and glared. She and I needed to talk, but she just giggled and looked up at the strange dragon as though they were old lovers. His heated eyes on her showed a certain knowing intent, as though they’d slept together, and he was confident it would happen again very soon.
Caleb strode into the room, all business, and I was relieved. He wouldn’t like this strange development any more than I did. Caleb motioned with his head for Lynn to join him at the bar, and I was appeased somewhat when she got out of the strange man’s lap and joined him there. They spoke quietly for a few minutes, and I couldn’t make out what they were saying.
Suddenly, Lynn looked at me, glaring. She was swaying a little, and her eyes were glassy. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she almost seemed drunk, but there was no way she’d do something that irresponsible. Was there?
“What?” I asked her, glaring back. Why was Miss Basket-case mad at me?
“Nothing,” she said, her words slurring alarmingly. “Just talking about some stuff I lost recently. Good thing some of my favorite comfy clothes were already here.” She lifted a foot and wiggled a fluffy black kitty slipper at me. She swayed precariously.
I flipped her off. Like that was our main concern at the moment. Caleb and I seemed to be the only ones here without a ticket on the crazy train.
“At least she’s sorry,” Lynn raised her voice dramatically. I smirked, just to taunt her.
Lynn turned back to Caleb. They spoke quietly for several minutes. I went back to eating and brooding.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the bar top go up in flames. My head whipped around. Shit. The flames had come out of Lynn’s throat. And it was going to happen again, going by the way she was taking a deep breath. All of the air in the room seemed to be going into her lungs for the next breath of fire.
I looked in panic at Christian, whose head was just starting to turn toward the commotion. There would be no explaining away breathing fire. Even fire sorcerer’s couldn’t do that. Shit. Shit. Shit.
I was across the room in a flash, punching Christian square in the jaw before he could get a good look across the room. It was an instinctual, knee-jerk, retarded reaction to the inevitable threat of discovery. I didn’t think it through enough to work out why it would help the situation. I just knew that I had to get his attention away from Lynn, and fast.
Christian stood up slowly, rubbing his jaw. “What on earth, Jillian?” he asked me, sounding wounded.
I covered up quickly. “Any guy wearing makeup deserves to get punched,” I told him with a smirk. There were gasps from goth boys in makeup all around the room. They were all looking at me, expressions of either fear or anger on their faces. Except for Luke. I noticed he was sending me even more smitten looks from beneath his mascara coated lashes. I heard Lynn fail to stifle a giggle across the room, where I saw the strange dragon had joined her and Caleb at the bar.
Suddenly the strange dragon-kin got everyone’s attention as he pointed at one of the goth boys. “It’s him.” The stranger’s voice was deep and certain. He walked towards the terrified goth kid. “Everyone else in the room had a proper response to what was going on. They all looked surprised or scared. This one showed no emotion until I pointed him out just now.” His accent was faint and asian. His english was very fluent, but still not his first language.