He called her a bitch under his breath as he looked at me. “What was all the noise about?” he asked me. It was obvious it pained him to even have to speak to me.
I shrugged. “Ask Sloan,” I told him.
He looked at Sloan. “What, you guys are old buddies again?” Every word dripped with disgust..
We both laughed, then stopped, glaring at each other.
“Hardly,” Sloan told him. “We both just happen to hate you.”
He gave her a murderous look. “Right back at you, you half-breed bitch.” He slammed the door in her face. She shrugged.
“He’s even meaner than he used to be,” I noted.
Sloan’s mouth turned up on one side in an unhappy smile. “So am I. But he’s been impossible since Siobhan started dating Dom again. You see, before Dom started seeing her again, she’d been slumming with Cam for awhile. He’s been on his period ever since she dumped him.”
My eyes widened. “She dated Cam? Does Dom know?”
She shrugged. “Kinda. He knows that they dated. Don’t think he knew they were dating so recently, or that it had gotten serious.”
I curled my lip in distaste. “Dating two cousins? Creepy.”
Sloan nodded. “It’s worse than that, even. She’s dated Collin, too.”
I was more than a little surprised. “I never knew. I thought druids were way too possessive to pass around women like that. I always thought Siobhan was just waiting patiently for Dom to finally fall for her.”
She snorted. “Hardly. She’s certainly never waited for him at home, if you know what I mean.” We fell silent.
I remembered something I’d heard. “Good job wiping the floor with her in the arena. When I heard about that, I wanted to cheer.”
She smiled a little at the mention of her victory over Siobhan. I just don’t think she could help her mouth turning up when she thought about the memory. “It felt good. And now I outrank her.”
My brow furrowed. “You’re 1st lieutenant now, right?”
She smirked. “Yes, this half-breed bitch is 2nd in command, and 1st lieutenant.”
“So does that mean that you fought Cam for the spot? I never heard the details of that.” When an Arch took his vows, he personally appointed seven lieutenants for himself. Their rank was then voted on by the people. Whatever was voted became the chain of command for the leadership. However, the vote was not the final decision. The lieutenants could all challenge each other to combat to move up in rank. If one was challenged, and refused to fight, the challenger then moved up in rank, pushing the challenged down one spot. You could only challenge the one directly above you, however, so no one could just skip to the top. Originally, when Dom had become Arch, Cam had been the 1st, Siobhan the 2nd, Sloan the 3rd, Collin the 4th, and so on. When Sloan had beaten Siobhan, she had moved up to second, putting her in a position to challenge Cam, if she wanted to be 1st. Since she was now 1st, I assumed that had happened, though I’d never heard anything about it. My sources weren’t quite that good. All I’d heard was that it had been a private affair.
That wiped the smile right off of her face. “He refused to fight me, just handed me the spot like a little bitch. You can’t know how much I wanted that fight. How much I still want it.”
I blinked at her, surprised at her, surprised at them both. “Did he say why? He’s so big on rank, I just can’t picture him doing that.”
She flushed, looking down at her fisted hands. “He said that he didn’t want to hurt me, the bastard. I f**king hate that guy.”
I thought that said a lot, but apparently it hadn’t said anything that Sloan wanted to hear. We were both silent for a long time, lost in thoughts.
“I tried to talk to him before that, Sloan,” I spoke after a while, going back to the exhausted subject of Dom and I. “The pictures were a last resort.”
“You are such a stone-cold bitch,” was her only response. I decided to stop trying for a truce, after that.
Eventually Cam got back into the car, rudely crowding Sloan to the opposite end of the bench seat they shared. “Asshole,” she muttered loudly.
“Man-hater,” he responded without sparing her a glance. “The Arch is on his way.”
Dom finally slid into the car, forcing Sloan to take a seat beside me to avoid having to sit too close to Cam. Dom didn’t spare anyone a glance as the car starting moving. He pulled a large bottle of whiskey out of the trench he wore over his tattered vest, taking a long swig. He passed the bottle to Cam without saying a word. Cam followed suit, passing the bottle to Sloan.
I’d asked them about this after battle habit years ago. I’d been told the hard liquor was the best way to get the taste of flesh off their tongues. I’d wondered out loud why, if the taste of flesh was so unpleasant to them, they couldn’t just use claws instead of teeth for fighting. The answer I’d gotten was that a berserker couldn’t hold back from using it’s teeth. And the whiskey wasn’t really that much of a problem. It was very difficult to get a druid drunk. I, of course, had refrained from mentioning that my kind had invented berserker rage.
Dom stared moodily out the window, until Sloan spoke. “Was there any way to tell how many of them got away?”
He looked at her, shrugging. “Impossible to say, for sure. Their casualties number in the thousands. It seems we accomplished our goal tonight, though we lost far too many of our own in the process, far more than we anticipated, and I want to know why. Those things were expecting us tonight. They were prepared for us, prepared to fight druids.”
Cam sent me an accusing glare. “It has to be her. None of our own would betray us.”
Dom sighed. “Just because you want something to be true doesn’t make it so.” He looked at me. “It’s easy enough to see if your story checks out. I’ll just need your cooperation for a small spell.”
I gave him a blank face, shrugging. “Whatever will get me out of here faster.”
His mouth hardened. “Of course. Cam, switch places with her. I’ll need to touch your forehead for a minor memory spell. That voice you spoke of. I should be able to get some clue as to it’s origins.”
I moved onto the seat beside him, and he touched my forehead with just a finger. I closed my eyes. He began to chant, and I felt the moment when he delved into my recent memories, looking for the voice. His brow furrowed when he finally found what he was looking for.