Part Thirty Six of You Will Find Your Way
So, worst date ever, or worst date ever?
“Oh no. No, no, no. You’re kidding. Tell me you’re kidding, because as much as this is not the time for jokes, let alone bad ones, this had damn well better be one.”
She rounds on him, nearly whipping him in the face with her hair in a way that should be hilarious but holy crap she is so angry, “Why is she here?”
“Maris sent her with me,” Mathias answers as patiently as he can muster, but she—and Luke too, probably, Mathias is not really that subtle—can all tell that his patience is wearing thin. “It’s not like I can go against orders. What was I supposed to say?”
“How about, ‘Hey Mother, Dallas has never trusted your judgement, this is a terrible idea and she’s going to be unbelievably pissed off when she finds out what you’re doing’?” She throws her arms in the air and keeps pacing. “You have got to be kidding me!”
Luke clears his throat, and Dallas stops short, remembers through the haze of her anger that he’s standing in the doorway and probably a million times more confused than he was say, five minutes ago.
She turns, “I’m sorry,” she manages, also realizes she’s somehow out of breath. “It’s complicated.”
“Complicated?” He laughs and it’s straining toward the border toward hysterical. “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“This from the guy who was angry because I have two arms,” she teases, despite the fact that this probably isn’t the time.
Focus, she needs to focus.
Luke snorts, so that’s better, but then he pushes the half-closed door back open, “Maybe we shouldn’t be yelling about this on the front porch. I’m sure the last thing you want are the neighbors whining even more at Doctor Sweeney.”
Dallas mimes like she’s gagging, and at the look on Mathias’ face, she rolls her eyes, “Don’t ask. But it’s your mother’s fault.”
“Is there anything you don’t blame my mother for?”
“There are things I blame fascists for.”
“You’ve called Mother that many times, remember?”’
Mathias’ brows hike to his hairline, but Dallas puts a hand up before he can say anything that will lead to her yelling at him again, “I don’t have it in me to go over this right now in the detail you want,” she glares. “But your mother is terrible at her job and sending me home was her second worst plan in the history of terrible plans.”
“Only the second worst?”
“I’m sure she’s yet to come up with something as moronic, but I’m also sure that at some point, she will.”
Dallas glares at the thought, looks around the block, like she’s just hiding in the shadows, waiting to make her grand entrance because of course she’d pull something like that for dramatic effect, but—
She turns her glare back to Mathias, “So where is she?” She snaps, bites back on a curse when he hesitates. “You tell me right now where she is or I will kick your ass up one side of the block and down the other for all my neighbors to see.”
“Well, you see, Dallas-”
He breaks off and Dallas throws her hands in the air, “Oh for god’s sakes! Spill it, old man!”
For a second he’s quiet, mouth snapped shut and a pained look on his face.
But then his brows take residence back up at his hairline, like she vaguely remembers they did during her first few months of training under him, “Dallas?”
Mathias waves a hand toward her shoulder, “You’ve got a glow.”
She glances over her shoulder, and—
“Shit!” Dallas pulls the blade off her back, looks at Luke, who already has a hand on the hilt of his sword. “Last chance to back out.”
“I will just be right back,” Giselle says and drops her napkin next to her plate.
Most of the food was gone, but it unfortunately tasted like ashes in her mouth because firstly, she didn’t order it herself, and secondly, she had been subjected to Doctor Sweeney’s endless lecture since their drinks were delivered.
For a second, Giselle worries that Doctor Sweeney is going to not let her go considering her bathroom breaks have been more than a little obvious in their frequency, but he just nods and picks up the menu, “And I will peruse the dessert offerings for us.”
Giselle resists the urge to roll her eyes as she stands up, because she has never been subjected to a business dinner where she hadn’t been allowed to order her own goddamn meal.
“Men can be so inconvenient,” she grumbles.
She finds refuge in the now-familiar ladies room, bends over the sink and washes her hands for lack of anything else to do. Her eyes follow the swirl of soap bubbles down the drain before they trail to the cute little placard set to remind her and the other guests about how bad it is to waste water.
With a sigh, Giselle flicks the water off and pats her hands dry, doesn’t hear the bathroom door swinging open over the sound of the paper crinkling between her fingers as her thoughts drift in the direction of what new angry-emojis she should text Dallas.
If Giselle isn’t going to get any peace tonight, neither is she.
“So, worst date ever or worst date ever?”
Giselle jumps and whirls around, comes face to face with a narrow-faced woman with dark hair and hawk-like eyes, “This is not even close to a date,” she says, takes half a step back and drops the damp paper towels into the wastebasket. “If it were, I wouldn’t still be here.”
“I might have guessed that,” the woman doesn’t move deeper into the restroom or take to one of the stalls, just leans against one of the high-backed chairs in the little lounge by the front. “I couldn’t help but take in the show. People watching has always been one of my favorite pastimes.”
“Hope you enjoyed it,” she shrugs. “Though I do hope it doesn’t last much longer.”
The woman smiles, teeth white and straight, “I completely understand,” she says, holds a hand out. “I’m Hilda.”
“So Giselle,” Hilda cocks her head toward the door. “Want to get out of here?”
“I wish I could, but I’m trying to do as much damage control as I can before my,” she scoffs. “My dinner companion goes to the dean.”
“Well then,” Hilda pulls a pen and a cocktail napkin out of the pocket of her slacks, scribbles down a number and hands it to her. “How about you call me when you’re done and we can get a drink?”
Giselle glances down at the number, and then back to Hilda, who has a look in her eyes that tells her she’s been planning on making this move since—well, probably not long after she and Doctor Sweeney made it to the restaurant.
So maybe her terrible night is looking up?
“I’d like that.”
You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Zero
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