I’d made over four different kinds of wings, too many pizza crusts and way too many appetizers without a name by the time Jin came back from TCP with a stranger in tow. She gave me a head nod, “Sorry to interrupt, but Il Cane has sent a missive, and he refuses to speak to anyone but you.”
I dusted off my hands and poured a glass of wine and handed it to Jin. “Take a break, grab a snack. It’s alright.”
She smiled and set the wine down on the counter, “I will take you up on the snack though.”
I took the glass and set it down and poured a second and handed it to my new guest. “What does Cari want that can’t wait until later?”
He smiled. “I’m Tran. Il Cane wanted me to tell you that in the bowels of the building you will find our missing enforcer.”
“She caught Valence?”
Tran nodded. “Yes, he’s in a holding cell in the depths. She said you’d want to know as soon as possible.”
“Thank you.” I said.
“I can see myself out.” Tran said.
Jin stood up and finished her mouthful. “I’ll see you out.” She smiled and gave me a nod as Tran sat his untouched wine down. Some vampires drank others didn’t. He wasn’t a drinker.
Jin took Tran out and I sipped the wine I’d poured. Darwynn stepped into the kitchen and looked at me with concern, “A bit early to drink?”
“I poured it. I’d hate to waste it.” I handed the second one to him and he took it with a wink.
Darwynn took a long swig of the wine and drained most of it’s contents. “Don’t they know it’s Saturday?”
I shrugged. “Bad guys don’t take the weekends off. And neither does Il Cane.”
He laughed. “But it’s Valentine’s Day weekend and you are spending it with your family. And more importantly entertaining a bunch of highschool students.”
I grinned. “Matt’s become popular in a human school. He’s athletic, and smart and all the girls think he’s cute and all the guys want to be him. Except he likes boys.”
“He has a good role model.” Darwynn said looking at me like a proud father. Sometimes I wished my father looked at me that way.
“I’m not smart like Matt, and I’m not athletic like he is.”
“Fuck that Nox.” Darwynn said. “You may not be book smart, but you are smart and I’ve seen you beat the shit out of some of the fastest and strongest creatures here.”
I shrugged. “They let me win.”
“I seriously doubt Anthony Giovanni or Ryan Elliot let you win. Il Cane taught them well and she’s afraid of you. You honestly think they’d not try to kick your ass just so they can prove to their mistress you won’t get through them?”
I shrugged again. “I don’t think they are trying. Specially now, they don’t want to hurt me. Cari might kick their ass if they did.”
Darwynn shook his head. “I can’t see those boys taking it easy on you no matter what their mistress says. They are hard core Nox. Be proud.”
I gave him a wry smile and sighed. “I probably should go take care of some of that business.”
“You aren’t wearing shoes. Stay home. I’ll run down to see if the scariest fucking vampire needs you to do anything, and then I’ll come back up here and jump ship before you unleash teenage hell.”
I nodded and sighed. I was still getting used to people doing for me. And Darwynn was a minion – a friend, but a minion none-the-less. “Alright.” I said but Darwynn was already heading for TCP. He hadn’t waited for my answer.